I came across these images of a pristine reef from the Southern Red Sea recently, which I don’t think I’ve shared before. As you can see the coral is particularly fine. I thought it might be worth looking them over to see why I find shallow coral reefs so very enjoyable. It’s hard to say where these images were taken, most likely somewhere south of Hurghada, the rather unlovely Egyptian port, which despite its lack of charm, is a great departure point for finding some splendid coral scenery. As ever, the reefs here are complex with crests just below the surface. The outermost offer the best fish life, with some of the more sheltered reefs showing some of the best hard corals, away from the seaward waves and storms.These images were all taken at around five meters; there’s some light from my strobes but mainly it is sunlight illuminating the corals in the backgrounds. The first thing I always notice is the clarity of the water here, especially in the summer when the winds drop, but this dive was particularly superb. I easily managed to get shots of the reef flat without risking damage to the coral or myself. I’m always thrilled by the number of tridacnids you can find in the shallows, very often they’re visible from the surface, especially the light blue ones. As you can see the color palette is very typically Red Sea, muted pastel shades of pale browns, lilacs, and purples. The pocilloporids offer some of the brightest colors in lilacs, pinks, and purples.